I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah

I was working the polls on election day, handing people ballots and explaining how to fill them out properly. I made it my mission to come up with interesting uses for the removable tabs and entertain people for the 30 seconds that I had their captive attention. When 7 pm hit, people came in looking grim. “Did you hear about the polls?” they’d ask. “No,” I said, “but don’t tell me, I need to get through the next hour.” I guarded my polling location from news of what was happening because we still had to close – I still had to close – and needed to be able to focus without dealing with the sheer terror of reality.

I checked Twitter as I got in my Lyft back home. Shock bombarded and horror filled me as I scrolled through my timeline. I hoped the panic would vanish once the CA votes were counted. It didn’t. Slowly the new reality set in – the one where I wake up horrified and lose more of my basic human rights every day. The one where I wake up and am reminded that I was prepared for this, I saw this coming, I know what’s happening.

I grew up in the far-right evangelical conservative (Christofascist) movement; specifically, I was homeschooled and my parents were part of a subculture called Quiverfull, whose aim is to outbreed everyone for Jesus. I spent my teen years being a political activist. I was taught by every pastor I encountered that it was our job as Christians to outbreed the secularists (anyone not a far-right evangelical Protestant) and take over the government through sheer numbers. I was part of TeenPact, Generation Joshua and my local Teenage Republicans (TARS).

When the Tea Party rose in 2009, that was my culture. The Tea Party was step one. I was laying the groundwork for those elections in 2006. These people didn’t come out of the blue like it seemed. This plan, this Christofascist takeover of the US government, has been in the works for decades. When evangelical conservatism started becoming popular and more mainstream around the 1970s, the foundation was being laid for the tragedy playing out right now.

Evangelical conservatives started taking over their local republican parties and founding organizations like Operation Rescue, Homeschool Legal Defense Association, Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, just to name a few.

Via hslda.org

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Michael Farris founded HSLDA in 1983 as a way to ensure that homeschooling was legal, but what he’s been striving for is the wild west. His organization is trying to keep homeschooling away from any interference so the children he trains through his sister organization, Generation Joshua, would be able to fly under the radar. Generation Joshua started in 2003, primarily catering to children homeschooled by extremely religious rightwing adults. Its purpose was to train us to fight in what the Christofascists have been calling the “Culture Wars.” It’s a loose and ambiguous term that basically means anything or anyone that doesn’t align with this very specific view of Christianity must not be allowed to continue.

Mission statements of GenJ, TeenPact, NCFCA, CFC

How do you do that? Well, you overturn Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. Connecticut, Brown v. Board of Education and Bob Jones v. The United States. Each of these decisions currently protects reproductive rights or non-discrimination based on race. As retribution, you amend the Constitution to discriminate against queers, trans people, women and people of color. Then, you make laws legislating morality. The only way to do this is to infiltrate the government; so Generation Joshua, TeenPact and other organizations exist to indoctrinate and recruit homeschooled youth who have ample free time to participate in politics. The biggest resources for teaching civil discourse are the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association and Communicators for Christ (since renamed Institute for Cultural Communicators). Through these programs we learned how to argue effectively. As students, we were taught critical thinking skills but given only a narrow view of what was acceptable to argue for. We were, after all, being trained to take over the country for Christ, literally. We knew how to perform logical gymnastics about abortion, Christianity and any evangelical talking point you could throw at us.

When we showed up to city council, local political party meetings and tours of the Capitol we asked intelligent questions, were respectful and had a vested interest in how our local political machine ran. We impressed every government official and staff member with our questions, earnesty and demeanor. In short, we were sneaky and polite Trojan horses; we had an agenda. Yes, even as 15-year-olds. It was forcefully handed to us by the adults in our lives who had been preparing for this since before we were born.

I watched the Tea Party takeover and was surprised no one saw it coming. After all, this was part of the plan. Trump being elected is also part of the plan, although not Trump specifically; the true goal is Pence.

Christofascists have been wanting someone like Pence in the White House and, until now, didn’t have a way to get one in. They know Trump is easily manipulated and will change his mind with the wind if it makes him feel more powerful and famous. Trump couldn’t care less about policy, a fact he’s made quite obvious. The Right has given a tyrant power and fame; he will do whatever they want him to do in order to keep it. This way they can sneak Pence in on a piggyback while filling Congress with even more evangelical conservative Republicans. Compared to Trump’s abrasive and terrifying behavior, Pence seems much less threatening. This is not the case. Pence has a proven track record of legalizing discrimination and acting against women and marginalized people. Those of us who didn’t leave the far Right are being elected to federal positions or are taking over states and cities. With Pence in office, even the reasonable-seeming incumbents – who have been and are still at the mercy of the Tea Party – are growing more bold in their attempts to further the Christofascist agenda: To Take Back The Country For Christ.

This was the mantra we heard. This was our mission. This is how we were to win: Outbreed, Outvote, Outactivate. Every class, every event, every pastor or guest speaker reiterated this, choosing to risk the 501c3 status of their church to push their agenda. To take back the country for Christ, we needed to outbreed, outvote and outactivate the other side, thus saith The Lord.

Meanwhile, mainstream Democrats shake their heads in confusion and fundamentally misunderstand the meaning of grassroots organizing, which is where all of this happens. Republicans have a vast network of homeschoolers that HSLDA and others have given them to tap into as a source of free labor. Republicans in state governments are lax on homeschooling oversight because their Get Out The Vote base is made of homeschoolers thanks to Generation Joshua and Teenpact.

Via Generation Joshua

Homeschoolers may make up a small portion of students as a whole, but they are loud, have time and can be activated with one email blast. When HR6 was brought to Congress in 1994, homeschool families realized their power. With an alert from HSLDA, homeschool families flooded the lines of Congress demanding that they exclude private, home and religious schools from the bill. They succeeded. The reach of HSLDA to activate the homeschool community has only grown since then. We are the secret no one knew about and it’s time to come to light. Homeschoolers are a huge reason for the evangelical conservative takeover we’ve seen over the last decade or so; it would be a mistake to write them off.

Self-proclaimed constitutional lawyer Michael Farris, the founder of HSLDA, and revisionist historian David Barton have spent years twisting their interpretation of the U.S. Constitution as some kind of God-breathed document into the minds of parents and their families who will just believe what they say because they’re “Good Christians.” They don’t necessarily practice critical thought, are dissuaded from looking at the Constitution themselves without a law degree and don’t bother to read history from all angles, relying only on the whitewashed Christian versions of the Constitution and our founding.

If you’re thinking that declaring the nation a Christian one and turning into a theocracy is a ludicrous idea that has no basis in our constitution, you’d be correct. However, Christofascists have imbibed this theory and now believe it is their Christian duty to save the country from its secular ways in the name of religious freedom. In this worldview, any non-Christian (including Catholics and Jews) is doomed to eternal torture if they don’t convert. Thus, we are all going to hell in a handbasket if “good Christians” don’t save the country from the liberals who think people should just “do what they want regardless of what God says.” Their religious extremism is worse than any group they fearmonger over, but the irony is lost on them.

Evangelical conservatives are convinced that their agenda will save the country from God-ordained death. Pat Robertson and many others believe that natural disasters are sent from God specifically to punish America for letting marginalized people have rights and be alive. This motivates them to do everything in their power to “save” the country from the ungodly – even, maybe especially – if it involves stripping others of the freedoms they deem to be against God’s wishes. They don’t care if their war for Christ hurts humans they see as living wrongfully, because they are capital “R” Right and that’s what matters. Their Rightness, they believe, comes from God Himself. Their beliefs are callous and without empathy, prioritizing dogma over people. These beliefs are dangerous. Many of us who have come out as queer, trans, or even merely gone to college, have lost family because of this worldview. A single powerful person who is convinced of their own Rightness with no thought of introspection is dangerous. We now have a government full of them.

It is important to understand that they are coming at this from a place of passion and dedication. They have a fire in their bellies. While it looks like a bunch of backwoods hillbillies playing with guns to anyone outside, they are resilient and in it for the long haul. They want America to succeed, but in their America there isn’t room for anyone unlike them. There’s a reason Trump’s mantra stuck despite his deplorable behaviour. They think America was founded on conservative Protestant ideals because that’s what they’ve been fed, because that’s what aligns with their interpretation of the Bible and they will not go down without a fight.

They are scared of anything newer than the 18th century; you can’t logic the fear of change away from people. If you do no research and are instead predisposed to the belief that older is better, it’s easy to think the Puritans were good and wholesome. People wore funny hats, were conservative and hated science. Church was basically mandatory and women weren’t allowed to speak or be autonomous people. These are all comforting things for people who feel as though the world is against them because of their religion, rather than the fact that their views and actions are bigoted, racist and actively harmful to millions of other humans. You cannot be this version of evangelical and not force your beliefs on others. Failing to convert is a failure on you and your dedication to your faith. This religion is based entirely on fear; you can’t argue away a fear so intense that it hardens you to anyone unlike you or your tribe.

They will not be won over with sit-downs and respectability politics. This kind of dogma cannot be reasoned with; it must be fought against. Trying to convince them to come to the other side is a waste of time unless they’ve already started on that journey themselves. The ones in power, actively harming our lives, are past this point. We can only fight back.

The revolution has come and we are the resistance.

Kieryn Darkwater is a blue haired fairy boi you can find making art and being an activist. They spend their time advocating for housing with East Bay Forward and protecting homeschool students as the Tech Director of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. When they’re not writing, organizing, or otherwise doing activisms, you can find them drawing comics, talking about what HRT is like, learning any new art skill, or playing video games.

Kieryn has written 4 articles for us.

719 Comments

  1. Christofascists are the counterpart of Muslims seeking to impose sharia law.

    Worst case scenario: the three theistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) team up to impose God on their own societies.

    I highly recommend Frank Schaffer, who grew up in the Christian family the Republicans and right-wingers took over to start out this mess. He has the godly integrity to speak out against this defiling of Christianity and America.

  2. The voice that you’re trying so desperately to silence is the only voice that you need to hear ….. you’ve walked into a landmine of lies ( and are echoing them ) ……
    When that voice goes silent , you’ve become so hardened that you may never come out of the trap you’ve waltzed into to your own peril …..

    Stop the foolishness ….. you cannot fight against God and win ….. He just shakes His head and says , really you eat my food , breathe my air , live because of Me and you’re gonna back sass me like a little spoiled brat …… Come on really , God is full of grace and mercy ….. stop hurting yourself and others ….. God doesn’t get His feelings hurt , He doesn’t need you , you need Him ….. How about some gratitude and thankfulness instead of a spewing diatribe against a GOD that allows you to live and breathe and have your being ….. you’re an attention seeker and it could be that your not going to like what you get …..

    Simple solution , Repent (turn from your wicked ways) , Confess your sin/sins , believe the Gospel and live in the light and love of “the” Benevolent GOD !

    Confess you sin and live …..

    Don’t be fodder for the devil or a puppet …..

    You’re taking a lose/lose position !

    One name can fix all of your problems !

    J E S U S ……

    Goodnight and I pray you get right and do right …..

    Don’t get caught unprepared to meet your Maker ….. many have to their own self destruction …..

    If I didn’t love you I wouldn’t even comment ….. come on , please don’t fall for all the traps and lies of the devil …..all of your buddies can do nothing for you in your problem with your Maker …..

      • Seriously you’re going to pull the victim card ….. ? how classic ….. maybe a riot should be staged ….. should more innocent people be hurt because you refuse to bow to your Creator ?

        You can’t even face your own self , you try to call yourself an “it” or something foolish , you’re still the same you no matter how hard you try to run from your conscience and even more so , from God ….. you have assimilated to the thoughts and actions of those you encircle yourself with so that you don’t have to hear or think about how wrong you are …..

        Someone hurt your feelings because they told you the truth somewhere in your past and now you’re running from reality running like you can really escape yourself ….. when you finish running you will find that “you” are still there !

        If you only knew how good God is , He’s not out to hurt you …..

        He’s not trying to put a bunch of rules and regulations on you by saying ” thou shalt not ” , He’s saying don’t hurt yourself , what you’re doing or wanting to do is only going to lead to you hurting yourself , I am God , I made you , I know what’s best for you , I’ve done everything and even given My only begotten Son for you ….. I always have been and always will be , I know the outcome of all things and I just don’t want you to hurt yourself …..

        Drop the rebellious attitude ….. Come to JESUS and really live …..

        Just for speculation I think you know all of this but you just don’t want to be lonely…..

        Choose God and live
        Choose not God and your life is a living death that comes to fruition once you do pass from this life …..

        Entertain me this one thought ,
        What if you’re wrong ? What would be the ramifications? Are you willing to pay the price if you’re wrong ?

        Because you don’t want to face the truth doesn’t make it go away …..
        ignorance of the law doesn’t make it null and void …..

        Please for once believe that someone can love you and can be concerned ….. it’s not a contest of who’s right and who’s wrong ….. it’s someone who loves you and wants to help even though I don’t know you …..

  3. Wow. Bravo for your courage and honesty here. You nailed the situation as well. These people are serious and scary and power hungry. I would propose but then I read up on the website. I am in the midst of organizing an article on my own ongoing family experience with this phenomenon and how exactly I’m going to word it. It’s hard!!

  4. This article will have resounding impact on activism and provide a greater understanding of what we are up against. This is a landmark expose. It took courage and character to provide this information.

  5. A long, boring moonbat screed. Get used to it as the Left gradually loses power. They were crazy in the Bush years. They’re going to go nuts when they realize that they’ve aborted their future as a movement.

  6. This is a very important article, but needs some solid verification. Hard confirmation. The following was posted on my facebook page:

    FACT CHECK, FACT CHECK, FACT CHECK!

    A serious article worth posting, but equally in need of serious fact-checking, because it is so chillingly important if true. It’s plausible, certainly. I’m not familiar with Autostraddle, a lesbian-feminist focused website, but appears to be fairly smart, accurate and progressive in its advocacy. Beyond that, I don’t know much about them. This article, however goes far beyond the limited concerns of the queer community, and needs thoughtful review.

    The archipelago of private, religious, right-wing schools that has so successfully disrupted public education has been fairly well documented. There is little doubt about it having pushed its voucher and charter-school agendas forward in a systematic effort to dismantle the public education infrastructure of an enlightened, well-educated electorate and stuff our professions, civil service and other offices with a populated platform for theocratic fascism. So it is not out of the range of possibility that the HomeSchool movement and its offshoots, too, has also been at work systematically building another tributary dedicated to crypto-religious fanaticism and the intent to establish a new order for undermining diversity and secularism through American regime change. Some of this is already evident in the right-wing takeover of the government and subversives like Pence, De Vos, and their ilk.

    But before we go off half-cocked, Kieryn Darkwater’s article needs to be thoroughly fact checked. No doubt there are radical and extremist evangelicals invested in these groups. Their missions also serve parts of their agenda. But is it as systematic a takeover as the article portrays? Are the various actors and stages mention really in as close an alliance as she suggests, and are their plans as deliberately strategic as they are portrayed? It may be so. But before we go sounding the alarm and putting the matter on call for the Resistance to engage (which does take energy), we need to know more, verify claims and vet sources.

    The comments to the article don’t really provide hard evidence that things are as the article says. I will post a couple of them, however, to give a sense of where the factual dividing line seems to be. I hope some of you will look deeper into the reliability of Darkwater’s claims. Anecdotes are good ‘take a look’ road signs, but not assurances that they go where they claim to go.

    [note: I have also authored a somewhat more general history of the Right’s encroachment and conscription of our educational system. It will be found here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/red-slider/education-and-the-end-of-evolution/969301166450046 ]

  7. Kieryn, I have given serious thought and prayer to your article. The biggest problem I see is that you have placed your hope and trust in man. Man will fail you, and disappoint you every time. We are not perfect human beings. Please understand that as we try to live as close to biblical standards as possible, we still fail. We as Christians will sometimes place unattainable legalistic expectations on others. This sounds like the environment you may have been in. Also, understand that parents have the responsibility to raise their children to be respectful, considerate, and moral future adults. I will continue to pray for you, and all that have possibly been caused to stumble in their faith because of your article. Place your faith in Jesus Christ, and take your cares and concerns to Him. You will find a peace that you are not experiencing right now. He cares greatly for you. Love in Christ. Romans 13:11,12

      • On February 9th I commented that I would be praying for Kieryn. She did not respond negatively. Please allow her to speak for herself. If we are having an adult chat that does not mean that we will all agree, but we should be respectful with our comments. There is nothing that I have said that should require reporting.

        • I never responded period as I didn’t see the comment until just now so don’t you dare take that as consent, as Cindy noted, I don’t want to be prayed for – I said so explicitly upthread; please don’t pray for me.

          Also I’m explicitly agnostic, and I don’t appreciate you telling others and myself what I am and am not, and what I have or haven’t done, or do and don’t believe. Don’t ascribe your doctrine to my life and identity. I am not a cardboard cut out you get to define.

          I don’t appreciate your assertion that I would be better off drowned than sharing the truth of my experiences. Nor the fact that you repeatedly misgender me by insisting on calling me “she” even as everyone else refers to me correctly, as if you know better than I, who I am. You screen name, you have made clear, is a misnomer. None of what you have said is loving, despite every attempt to seem so. All you’ve shown is you care more about spreading your diatribe and assumptions about my salvation and decision on What I Need To Do, According To You, To Be Saved – without even taking into consideration that I am an autonomous adult, not some _thing_ you can determine the fate of and I have outright rejected your faith.

          Kindly step back and stop disrespecting my identity and choices.

          • Forgiving others that have hurt you, whether they have asked for forgiveness or not, will go along way towards healing your pain.I have to remind myself of this all the time when I want to reopen old hurts. Holding on to unforgiveness allows the person that hurt you to still be in control of your life. Try to put it behind you and move on, and be a role model for others. You don’t have to carry this pain around with you. There will always be someone that hurts you, don’t let it control your life. BTW using them/they in place of him/her he/she is a really new way of referring to people. A little grace there would be appreciated :) I think your age group is more involved in this than mine.
            Not all homeschool families are as you described. I have finished homeschooling my children now. I can tell you that I never had plans to out populate others, or to take over the country with a secret agenda. I simply chose to teach my children from a Christian worldview, knowing all the while, that when they entered college this would not be the view from which they would be taught. They have each become very successful, caring, responsible adults. No damage was done by teaching them the way I did. They each have a mind of their own, and have decided what is important in their life and what is not. I am very proud of all four of them(not quiverfull).

    • “all that have possibly been caused to stumble in their faith because of your article.”

      Doubt is what keeps one moving in their faith. I hope people HAVE stumbled because of this article, and use this to build on their faith by realizing that demonizing individuals who don’t fit into the evangelical module of what a biblical life should look like is not Christ-like at all.

      And I have to say, as a Christian myself, disingenuous offers of prayer simply to ensure conforming of those standards is extremely offensive.

        • Cindy, As a christian I think that you know that I am referring to the scripture in Matthew 18:6. It is simply a warning for believers about the consequences of causing someone to stumble. Every word that was written was written from a heart of love. It’s obvious that Kieryn is a believer that is in a backslidden state. I would love for her to restore her relationship with our Lord and Savior. There is no demonizing those who don’t fit into the evangelical module of what a biblical life should look like, or justifying treating others as inferior or with judgement. I’m sorry that you thought that. I am stating that hope and peace will not be found in man, christian or not, because we are prone to sinful ways. Hope and peace can be found only in a true relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior. I’m sorry you did not understand that. I am praying for Kieryn to find true peace, not to conform to certain standards.

          • Bringing awareness to religious and political issues that cause physical and emotional harm to others is not causing someone to stumble. And if you believe that is the case, then essentially yes you are demonizing her for not conforming to the evangelical set of values.

            Highlighting those issues is a challenge/encouragement for people to reflect on their values and beliefs in an ever-changing world. That’s not stumbling, that’s growth.

          • You write the numbers of passage down that discusses putting dark deeds aside here in the comment section of written work of people doing dark deeds in the name of your Lord within your entreaty to someone who has be harmed greatly in the name of Christianity to turn theirself back to the religion that has harmed them.

            And now you own up to referencing a passage about how it would be better for someone to be drowned rather to question.

            ……

            Go away.
            Please just leave.

  8. I was raised in a similar home, also homeschooled. I am so glad you wrote this. The world is a much better place with you in it and I look forward to reading your next article!!

    We can win if we strategize, organize, and find better ways to communicate our message. We have a better message and it is somehow losing. Let’s collaborate!

  9. Cindy, I understand that Kieryn has been hurt by people’s actions. I am sorry that happened. The point that I am trying to make is that it has been people not God that has caused the hurt. Man has taken what God has meant for good and for love and perverted it. There is so much pain in this world, and there is only One answer for healing, Christ.
    Good night :)

    • The point is it’s simply not just people. These are key, high profile leaders in political office whom a significant portion of the population views as representatives of traditional Christian values and who want to see those values restored as “American principles.” You are minimizing the impact and the hurt some of these leaders and the ideas they’ve putting out there are doing to those who don’t align with those views.

      Even if, hypothetically speaking, Kieryn was to heed your advice and “just turn back to Christ,” what would that even look like? It sounds like you’re suggesting she just let it go and ignore these people. Even from a spiritual level, that makes zero sense.

      And Lex is right. This misplaced concern you have is contradicted by the bible verse you just threw at her telling her it’s better to be drowned than to have written this article and caused someone to actually think about it’s meaning.

      • Forgiveness goes along way toward healing. That is what I am suggesting. I’m not saying that is easy at all, but necessary so that the people that hurt Kieryn can not continue to control Kieryn’s life. I realize the scripture that I referenced seems harsh. It surprised me when I first read it. It’s a strong warning to be careful how we conduct ourselves. Thank you for your comments.

  10. Hi this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting
    to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you
    have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so
    I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  11. I’m not sure if this has been mentioned as I did not read all 500+ comments, but enough states have a strong Republican governor and governing bodies (senate and house) that it’s close to being able to change the Constitution to one where we would be changed to a Evangelical Christian nation. This article is frightening enough but combined with a potential to change the Constitution and with the potential to change the SCOTUS, it’s even more so.

  12. I was raised an atheist in Modesto, the Bible Belt of California, during the 60s and 70s. I observed firsthand the methods and minds of evangelical Christians, had my first argument with a creationist on an elementary school playground, and watched in horror as Reagan welcomed the Moral Majority into the Republican Party when I reached my own majority.
    Everything said in this essay reflects the statements I have been making for years. This is a religious war, and it cannot be fought, much less won, without understanding its history as well as studying how evangelicals think, plan, and fight. The time for playing nice ended on November 8th, 2017. I call on all true patriots to join the battle as the religious right cannot be allowed to turn our great country into a fascist theocracy.

    • What’s interesting is that they are trying to make Islam and Moslems the ENEMY but really – the religious right is more of an enemy to the principles this country was founded on and the progress it had made until recently than any Islamic terrorist. Islamic terrorists may bomb and kill people but these religious fanatics are destroying the spirit of this country and ironically, the very things that have the made it “Great” in the eyes of millions for so long.

  13. Incredibly scary article Kieryn and one I hope more and more people read. However, also hopeful in that YOU wrote it and you were able with your intelligence and your ethics and your morals to see past the stupidity and hypocrisy. Let’s all work toward empowering and encouraging more of the youth trapped in these mindless religious CULTS to think for themselves and act in the best interest of HUMANITY.

  14. Just as there are those on the far-right who see a liberal cabal taking over the government in the Obama era, there may be those on the right who fit the description in this article but it does a disservice to evangelical Christians and homeschoolers to paint them all with this brush, so I hope readers are aware that these groups are far from monolithic and the views of many who fit these labels are much more nuanced. Many in the evangelical Christian and homeschool community are as appalled at the current administration and the blind trust some Christians place in that administration as are Dems and independents. The extremism and loathing on both sides have led to where we are today and are turning off those in the middle who want reasoned, compassionate policies and respectful treatment for all. I’ve homeschool my kids for 26 years and know of a few like this, but most of the Christian homeschoolers I know are not this extreme and vary in their political views.

  15. A true benefit to humanity would be to develop a home schooling curriculum that is both ecumenical and firmly ethical (the Dali Lama is working on a universal ethics). Such ethics will posit universal values, not relativism, and not the kind of fanaticism and evil zeal described in this article. This curriculum would also present science accurately along with iptional lessons on the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagava-Gita. these lessons would make use of true scholarship and humane interpretation. Some of the lessons would be adopted by schools too. P.S. I knew of this whole movement. The most evil partof it is how the movement has sucked in conservative Catholics led by the Acton Institute. Look it up. very scary. Paul Ryna and Steve Bannon would be heroes of the Action Institute. Liberals are clueless on many levels, including the role of Cambridge Analytica in winning the swing states for Trump. The Dems have nothing like this scientifically proven way of persuading/manipulating voters and winning elections. BTW, the research behind Cambridge Analytica was stolen by his lab assistant from a Cambridge University professor who is appalled by how his research is being used.

  16. If you want to learn about the most powerful group along the lines of fanatical Christianity (which posits that Christianity = unregulated capitalism = right wing America = God’s will) then read “The Family” by Jeff Sharrett.

  17. Wow, it looks like your schooling really failed you. I’m used to these sort of Leftist fulminations, but this takes the cake. Tell, me what sort of laws *do not* legislate morality??? How is it possible to advocate for anything without attempting to force your views on others??? Why does becoming a postmodern Left-wing seem to fry a person’s mind and leaves them incapable of anything other than wild screeching à la Rachal Maddow???

  18. to the richard johnson new york post and his famely cbs anchor otis livingston told me he had sexual relation with mr’ johnson’s famely member he also told me he will kill johnson’s famely if they open ther mouth about it. richard johnson must becareful of otis livingston he is crime.

  19. Overall a good article except where your own lack of education comes through. The Puritans actually established greater religious toleration in England than anybody before them. They abolished debtor’s prison. They removed the chains from the insane.In the American colonies they opposed slavery. Don’t think the Fundamentalists are next generation Puritans. The Puritans identified real abuses in society and removed them. Our own contract form of government is derived from Puritan minister Samuel Rutherford and his treatise, LEX REX, (the law is king) which landed him in prison, where he died.

  20. I want to THANK YOU for writing this article. I was homeschooled in the 80s and 90s, before it was a thing. I guess you could say my parents were part of that small movement that started the bullshit that you were a part of.

    I wish people could understand that homeschooling – especially by evangelicals – is rarely ever about providing a better education for their children. It’s about turning them into soldiers for God. I heard this term spoken A LOT by my parents, and by parents of other homeschoolers. They know what they’re doing. They knew that they were brainwashing us, and controlling our environment in an attempt to make us warriors for the right. They didn’t want us to have our own opinions, or to question things, or to treat those differently from us with dignity and respect.

    I have been trying to ring the alarm of the dangers of homeschooling for years, but people won’t listen.

    It takes a lot of courage to speak up for what you believe in, especially when it goes against everything you were taught. You are one brave soul, and I admire you for that. Keep up the good fight!

  21. I am familiar with this movement: the seeds of which started with the born again craze in the mid 70s, and the mid 60s infiltration of the Conservative movement. I knew of a potential mayor whose campaign was backed by these kinds of folks and after the campaign he told them thanks, but the local party would set their own agenda. A policeman connected to that group stopped him the next day and kiddie porn was “found” in his trunk. In the 70s I lived with a minister and his son who had an affair so he had his ego supposedly deconstructed so he could served God/Jesus. According to him the Holy Spirit gave him power to judge others, tell the future (and how wrong he so often was.) and his ego, since “deconstructed,” was out of control IMO.

    Yes, I saw the seeds of all this and have no doubt they will continue to grow: theological arsenic.

  22. Thank you for writing this. It’s very scary, but it’s something we on the liberal side need to know. Sad to think that so many people are bound up in fear & hatred. Again, thanks.

  23. You nailed it. I grew up in the IFB which is where the quiverfull started. I’ve left my faith after 35+ years b/c I could no longer buy what they were selling & the majority of “christians” are horrible people; this election has proven that. I’ve never been so scared in my life & it’s because I know what a Pence presidency will do. We are doomed if it comes to pass. We must resist as if our lives depend on it because it does!

  24. This is a staggeringly elegantly composed and intensive piece. I, as well, was raised fundie Christian and self-taught. While we weren’t a piece of any development, and our philosophy was somewhat milder than the one depicted here, we were extremely dedicated to “reclaiming” the nation for Christ, regardless of the possibility that it implied taking it from gatherings who’d been minimized and disappointed. Unexpected then that I’d in the long run turned out as gay. Nowadays I take a gander at the present government and consider how nobody saw it coming, however then the vast majority don’t recognize what to search and tune in for. http://bit.ly/2oWWjNh

  25. Great article and some very valid points. I’m a dad who homeschools his daughters. We were isolated within a mainstream specific “Christian” (rather Christ-centric)homeschool program. They study a lot of English grammar (that made me have to study to understand)the founding fathers and a lot of Greek philosophy, straight to your point of teaching critical thinking and writing. But,contrary to one of your points, it’s NOT THE RELIGION that’s dangerous, but those who have historically yielded it to keep and control people and make them docile and submissive to authority. Lastly, you have been duped into throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The problem isn’t reasoning, it’s sticking to YOUR point, regardless of what buttons they attempt to push, and regardless of how they try to control and steer the conversation (national or otherwise). Do not take on the mantle of the ignorant and idiotic. Think and meditate about it.
    Love and blessings

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  27. to the nancy gibbs an time magazine another editor from more magazine abby perlman recently got involved in dirty coraption business with crazy cbs anchor otis livingston to rob time magazine employees bank accounts. never trust abby perlman and otis livingston they bouth belongs in gail.

  28. to the marvin olasky and his magazine. another editor from more magazine brette polin got involved in dirty coraption business with crazy cbs anchor otis livingston to rob world magazine employees banks accounts. never trust brette polin and otis livingston they bouth belongs in jail.

  29. I have a daughter. No matter my beliefs or right or wrong I tried to teach her to think for herself. To do the research and reach her own conclusions.

    This applies to religion as well. I don’t think it’s right to indoctrinate children.

  30. whoah this blog is great i love studying your
    posts. Keep up the great work! You recognize, lots of persons are
    looking round for this information, you can help them greatly.

  31. How effective would it be to directly attack their faith? “You may think God is on your side, but let me assure you that you are not on God’s side. God gave us both reason and compassion, and you exhibit neither of those qualities. Is hate and fear all you have to offer in the Lord’s name?”

  32. quiverfull is the worst most unbiblical cult out there. do they not know of the new testament? jesus never had kids. paul never had kids. jesus warns against having children….twice & blesses those who are sterilized, called eunuchs. crapping out kids is the most unbiblical thing one can do in this day & age. be fruitful & multiply is for adam/eve & then noah & co. ONLY…& anyway its OT. not meant for the rest of us!

  33. It’s very sad and very scary to see people like this in 2017 still living in fear of the Catholic version of the bogieman. Time to grow up, get an education or seek professional help!

  34. This really struck me. The current political environment makes so much sense now. I was raised Christian. Taught much of this bull. It was paralyzing. So glad you posted this.

  35. I’ve often searched for why I left Mormonism – and they are huge in this movement. Mormons believe you must eat sleep and breathe the religion so your entire family can return to God and be a family forever. That is the strongest hook you can possibly come up with – without Mormon baptism and Temple attendance you cannot ever see your family again after death. Forever is a long, long time to never be with family, your ? children. Think about that hook.

  36. Actually the word politics comes from the greek and it means of or pertaining to the citizens, literally everyone who is a member of a city-state is a politician. Politics is not something that takes place outside of our every waking moment the issue is that people are not involved and you are a sick evil twisted psychophant and if there was any truth to the bible you are the false Christians that has no purpose here other than to spread dangerous propaganda and keep people dumbed down.

    Now fuck off.

  37. Thank you, a good start. Readers also need to know who qualify as christofascists currently in positions of power. We need names and evidence of their categorization so that readers have a channel for action. I think I grew up with some of these folks, you nailed it.

  38. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Kieryn. Since you mentioned that most of them are unreachable with facts and reason, I’m curious what made you able to find your way out? Is there something we can learn from your liberation process?

  39. Basically, this so called “Take over the Country for your own good” because your way is to make everyone your religion and this Country will be one big Christian Nation? What if we say no? You put everyone to death? Wow, this sound like a religion I heard a lot about someplace in the Middle East…..convert or Die? Sounds a lot like yours. They believe in the Quiverfull theory too–they just call it something else– And just like them, you are fodder/ammo in a war and warriors (your parents) don’t “bond with ammo”. Think about that….you were only created to be on a frontline of a war. This Country is the most unique Country in the world. WE ARE A NATION of Immigrants. We have all walks of life living here. We were founded on religious Freedoms and created a government that has the separation of religion and government. We all have freedoms that many other countries do not. It is the one thing that unites almost every different person in these United States. I think you mean well, and I do feel a little sorry for you and your church family. God Bless You.

  40. Just. Wow.

    This is true life Handmaid’s Tale stuff going on, and that show scares the crap out of me. I wouldn’t worry if this was a small group, but it seems as though these peeps are the biggest group of religious fanatics on earth.

    Christofacists indeed. Thanks for the heads up, and the overwhelming fear.

    You’ve got my attention. Sharing this now.

    #RESIST

  41. So much of this letter/essay would be very difficult to verify that I have to take it with a grain of salt, so to speak. Yes, I am aware of people on several sides of the political and/or religious spectrum who are living and thinking on the edge of sanity, according to my thinking. The “Act according to our precepts or you are deplorable/will go to hell/won’t be allowed to speak in public/should be silenced, etc. people are in all political groups and most religious groups. They have become very prominent on the Left. Let’s fight that approach wherever it is present.

  42. This isn’t a new tactic. “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man” That was the Jesuit motto, alleged to be attributed to Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuit Order. The implication is that the best opportunity to indoctrinate a person in a lifetime of belief and devotion to religious dogma is when they are young.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/24/139781021/the-evangelicals-engaged-in-spiritual-warfare

  43. Great. Next, you’ll be telling us Jeremy Christian was a registered Democrat who was accosted by those two black girls on the MAX and slashing the throats of the men who interceded to save them was an act of self-defense.

    Why do you guys always end your screeds with maniacal laughter?

  44. Good for you. Good article. What you have written is hard for people to accept or get their minds wrapped around, but it’s how it is. Conservatives circle the wagons. It’s what they do. You don’t reason with this. Too bad, but it’s how the conservative mind tends to work.

  45. While reading this article my thoughts went to the indigenous people of this land. So called Christians from another land come to this land and told these people they were wrong in their beliefs and went on to commit genicide. These God fearing white skinned humans did all they could to enforce their beliefs and ways on these land loving humans who cared for the land they felt was given to them by their “god” to care for and respect the life all around them, not just worship. You see, I’m an atheist but I can respect others beliefs as long as it’s not harmful or dangerous or allows room for violence. I believe in love and respect of all mankind, not worship. I don’t and never will try to influence someone to think like me. I came to my way of thinking through lots of trial and error. I watched the hatred and listened to the condemnation in various church’s. I’ve also seen many who do good things in the name of God and those ones are amazing! I also know God isn’t needed to be a good human. My children are proof of that. Life is full of so much to love and enjoy! Hatred spoils that part of life. Hate because someone thinks or feels differently than you ar your church. And so you all know, this kind of thinking and hatred comes from white people in white church’s! It’s called “White Supremacy”

  46. Why the need to attack? I see this all the time in comments after reading an article. So you don’t agree with what she says, that’s your right in a free country, but why attack her looks or the things she enjoys in life?

  47. If a rattlesnake came slithering through my house, I could not be more scared. What’s become of our country that organizations like that come to exist and worse, overcome. My hope is that come next election, people of good will will turn out to be the overwhelming majority. But maybe not…

  48. Kieryn, your write-up significantly deepened my nascent understanding of the fundamentalist mindset that has impacted a large portion of Christianity in America. Thank you for your courage and honesty. I recently completed a powerful history by Pulitzer-prize winning author Frances Fitzgerald entitled “The Evangelicals”, published only in April. This was an eye-opener and has helped me understand the Christian right’s roots going back to the early 1700’s and more immediately the past 30 years of the fundamentalist mindset as it has militantly and tenaciously manipulated Protestant denominations with its rigid beliefs of biblical inerrancy and forcing itself into the cultural and political life of our country. This activism has succeeded in toxifying the country as it has spread from the pulpit, the mass media, the tea party, the Republican Party, and now the rise of Trump and greed capitalism.

    To see how this is playing out in a part of the home schooling movement, along with the school voucher movement, is painful. I think of the kids being brainwashed instead of growing up healthy, enquiring and investigating their world and finding their ways, trusting their essential qualities. It is becoming clear to me, finally, of how this plays into segregation, which only leads to stereotyping and “othering”. Fundamentalism seems to be present in all the religions and we know what horrors and damage has been done in the name of Christ, or Allah, or other rigid orthodoxies. Furthermore, there’s the intersection of white supremacy that’s at the core of our discord. We need to wake up to what this is about. We’re all fish swimming in polluted waters, not noticing our immersion in racism, nor recognizing we are at the effect of fear.

    I was 22, last days of college, when I risked not going to church one Sunday, hoping I wouldn’t get struck down by mortal sin. The Roman Catholic dogma. Somehow I survived and weened myself from bondage. Yes, the ancient Hebrews fled from bondage, Egypt. I know that this bondage is passed down from generation to generation and grace to me is crossing over into the desert, to wander in the wilderness in order to find freedom. Breaking from the rigid mindsets.

    So what now to do as so many are asking? The first step for me is establishing a spiritual discipline where I am loosening the conditioning and cultivating the heart qualities of caring and compassion, training this towards yourself so you learn to extend it outwards. It’s critical that we bring awareness to reactivity so we’re not coming from fear and hatred. That takes a lot of discipline.

    Then, with the clear intention to fight the rise of fundamentalism (and white supremacy), joined like-minded folk and learn as much as you can about it (and the underlying fear). Strengthen yourself along with others and strategize in order to enter the fray. Fight the good fight non-violently, creatively. As Michelle Alexander says, Trumpism is the resistance. They’re resisting the forces of justice, out of fear, and hatred. Lost in bondage.

    I’m just beginning. Many of you are far more saavy and involved. I am center left and proud. I am liberal and progressive, and proud. I am waking up and willing to make a difference, for a healed world and to deal with the ignorance and dangers that are now visible.

  49. A former homeschooled far-right evangelical “Christofascist” described the grassroots movement hidden under our noses with a plan in the works for decades to take over American society and government. Something similar could have been written by a right winger talking about the hidden Jewish-banking conspiracy but somehow this has more of a ring of authenticity and, if it has any basis in reality, it is as scary as it gets. My strongest reaction is to feel a certain urgency about relocating outside the US.

  50. Hello. As a Christian (a follower & believer in the teachings of Jesus Christ) I have to say that 99.9% of what is taught & believed by the so-called Christian Church is absolute bullshit & contradictory to everything Jesus said. I don’t go to church for this very reason. All of these indoctrinated, fundamentalist, self-serving, self-proclamed “Christians” completely missed the message. His message of peace, love, tolerance, acceptance, helpfulness to your fellows, forgiveness, giving wholely of yourself, charity especially for the less fortunate- all lost on them. I also try to diligently follow the 10 commandments. I believe his words that none shall come to the father & enter the kingdom of heaven but thru Him. He made a new covenant with mankind. The rest of the Bible are nice stories, some historically accurate, but not a part of His teaching & covenant. Anyone following a hateful, vengeful, intolerant message are lost to grace & not chr, I repeat NOT

    • Matthew 10:34-39 – Christ didn’t come to bring peace but to save people from their sinfulness.

      Matthew 5:17 – He didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.

      Christ did love and promote love- but it was not a love of emotions. It was real love- love that meant caring for people’s standing before God (the only thing that is going to matter for eternity) over their happiness. He kept company with corrupt tax collectors, with people who were what the Bible defines as sexually immoral, because he loved them. But His loving them did not mean He gave approval to their actions. He came to be a Savior, but, according to the New Testament, Christ is also going to come back as the ultimate Judge.

      The Bible (New Testament) tells us to admonish and exhort and encourage each other to grow in holiness (putting off bad actions/attitudes and putting on good ones) and to not “neglect to meet together.” There is also the biblical model for the church with leaders and many examples of regional churches. All that to say- if you are a follower of Christ, you should be attending a church.

  51. I grew up in the fundamentalist religious right as well, and this article rings true to me. I have commented to numerous friends that while Trump is terrifying for his impetuous behavior (he has codes to our military power!?!), Pence terrifies me even more. Few friends on the left understand this, and your article does a great job of pointing out why. Trump is a bombastic bully; Pence is a true believer. The brand of fundamentalism the religious right are interested in doesn’t look much different than extreme Islamic fundamentalism. Thanks for this article, which does a good job of pointing out the committed, long term planning that has gone into this moment, and why so many evangelical Christians have been willing to lay down their scruples to bow to and appease the current political power.

    The one point I’d like to clarify, however, is that not ALL homeschooling falls into the category of religious principles. There are a significant number of secular homeschoolers who choose homeschooling for educational and intellectual reasons, including some who practice an “unschooling” philosophy. These homeschoolers come out of various free schooling movements that are also practiced in Europe. I can point to several local examples in the Boston area, including Sudbury Valley School, the Voyagers (a secular homeschool coop in Chelmsford), and the Framingham Makerspace. While the religious right has utilized the freedoms found in homeschooling to train their “army,” there are a lot of wonderful things to celebrate in the freedom we have in the USA to educate our children in a variety of ways.

  52. This is where the roots, my mother’s family’s roots, came from. My maternal grandfather, the Baptist preacher, didn’t make the transition to the culture wars (too old) but he was their harbinger and he raised me. In fairness to all concerned, I must credit the secular institutions (especially public school and the public library) of my childhood for helping me find the way out, plus some other peculiar forces driving me.

  53. Wow…thank God I was raised atheist. Kieryn, the intelligence and clarity of your written communication is superb, the best in recent memory. This article connects many dots, revealing a parallel Conservative infrastructure as ominous as that of the Koch brothers. It also reinforces my view that fundamentalist American Protestants have more in common with other fundamentalists, like the Taliban, than with moderates of their own religion.

  54. Kieryn, I am so glad you escaped from that world. Thank you so much for telling us your story. It is absolutely harrowing to read. People need to hear things like this. The right-wing has been indoctrinating their children as “culture warriors” and we can see the maleficent fruit it has borne just in the US. Things like right-wing Christianity are why I am today Pagan.

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